Meet the Maker: The Bead Shop Nottingham

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Welcome to the Cosy Craft Club's lino printing month! We really want to encourage you to have a go at jewellery making yourself, and we'll be sharing the key things you need to know to get started. You can find all our jewellery making posts in one place here.

Every month we send a kit to try a different craft to our subscribers, and this month it was a jewellery making kit from The Bead Shop Nottingham. We’ve spoken to Hana and Steph, the ladies behind The Bead Shop and asked them a few jewellery related questions. Let’s get to know them a little!

Please can you introduce yourself?

Hi, we’re Hana & Steph from The Bead Shop, Hana owns the shop and Steph is the workshop co-ordinator.

Steph and Hana at The Bead Shop - workshop room.jpg

How did you get into jewellery making?

Hana – I got into Jewellery making after my Aunt bought me a kit when I was about 11 and have had the bug ever since.

Steph – I’ve always been creative and used to spend School holidays with Grandparents who got my sister and I doing all sorts of creative things from paper making to sewing and baking, since then I’ve had a go at anything and everything. I really got into jewellery making when I was 15 and my family moved house and I discovered a bead shop in my new city.

The Bead shop - Shop front.jpg

What do you enjoy about it?

Hana – I really like being able to create something new and being able to match it to outfits, it’s really satisfying to be able create something and put your own personality into it.

Steph – I really enjoy the how relaxing jewellery making can be and how wide the variety of different techniques you can use and combine to create jewellery. There’s always something sparking new ideas.

What is your favourite piece of jewellery that you've made?

Hana – That’s tricky I have so many favourite pieces it’s hard to choose just one. I’ve made many pieces of jewellery, however the lovely thing about being surrounded by creative people is that I’ve been made many nice items too – people do pick up on my love of earrings – and in particular asymmetric earrings – they’re much harder to come by!

Steph – I do have a few favourites, though they are designs I have made for workshops rather than for myself. I love creating interesting and statement pieces. The one item that springs to mind is our Candy Bead Rosette necklace. I wore it to a Bead Show we do and everyone one kept stopping me and asking about it (both flattering and awkward – I haven’t quite mastered how to take compliments). But it’s feedback like this that feeds my creativity, even if it does still make me blush!

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Where do you like to go for jewellery making inspiration?

Hana – being surrounded by beads all the time definitely helps my inspiration – if I have a new outfit or have changed my hair colour I can match beads up very easily.

Steph – I manage to find inspiration everywhere, from colour combinations or shapes, I’m constantly taking photos and I look out for anyone I see out and about wearing interesting jewellery or colours. I often get ideas for new workshop designs from playing around with a new bead shape and just seeing what new shapes I can create by pairing them with other beads too.

What do you need to look for when buying jewellery making supplies?

Hana – Quality, if you have good quality items they will help your end results look more professional, whether that’s tools or materials. You’ll enjoy the process more if you like the feel of what you’re working with.

Steph – I would second that. If you’re using lovely beads when you’re making jewellery you’ll love the items you make more. It can be tricky, people worry about spending too much on higher quality beads when they’re starting out, what if they make a mistake? However good quality beads do not need to be expensive and if you go wrong you can dismantle your piece and start again - it’s all good practice.

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What resources would you recommend to someone starting out in jewellery making?

Hana - There’s a great number of books and magazine out there. There’s something to cover every topic and taste.

Steph – Workshops, I’m a very visual learner and I love learning with others, as well as teaching. It a great opportunity to ask lots of questions to people who know more about a specific topic.

What are your top tips for someone who is starting to learn jewellery making?

Hana – Workshops are a great way to get started as Steph mentioned. Also watch videos online, whether it’s a reminder of how to do something or a whole project.

Steph – Try everything – something’s you’ll love other things might not be your cup of tea, but you don’t know unless you try.

The Bead Shop’s workshop area

The Bead Shop’s workshop area

What is the most common mistake you see people who are starting out with jewellery making?

Steph – In workshops people worry too much about making mistakes; however that’s exactly what learning is all about. If something breaks or doesn’t look the way you hoped it would, that’s fine, you’ve learnt something and you can do it differently next time.

If someone tried jewellery making and quite enjoyed it, what would you recommend as the next steps for them?

Hana – workshops again are a great way to try different things and be able to gain more knowledge about different areas of jewellery making.

Steph – Kits are also a great way of learning, you can go at your own pace and have everything prepared for you to take the hassle out of sourcing all the different components when you’re first getting into it.

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Why do you love to craft?

Hana – It’s incredibly relaxing it allows you to switch off to everything else happening and there’s a real sense of achievement when you’ve created something with your own hands.

Thanks so much to Steph and Hana for all their answers! I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know them a little. If they’ve inspired you to have a go at jewellery making yourself, our jewellery making kit from The Bead Shop Nottingham is available in our Shop.

Rachel x